Whether you’re changing strings or adjusting a truss rod, learning how to keep your instrument in playing shape is one of the most important things a musician can do. Having the right tools on hand ensures that you do the job right while making it painless enough to incorporate into your routine. Not everyone has the level of skill or comfort when it comes to tinkering with their prized guitars and basses, though, and that’s why our System 65™ Care & Maintenance line offers an assortment of tool kits to meet your instrument care goals.

Here are three of our must haves.

What is an EQ pedal? A tone shaper, surely. But they can be much more than that.

MXR® offers two great options: the Six Band EQ and the Ten Band EQ. Modern classics, both feature noise-reduction circuitry, true bypass switching, brighter LEDs for increased visibility, and a lightweight aluminum housing. The Six Band covers all the essential guitar frequencies, from 100Hz to 3.kHz, while the Ten Band EQ gives you control over a wider range, from 31.25Hz to 16kHz—perfect for bass players and extended range guitar players.

With these pedals in mind, we talked to the gigging and recording musicians on our team and collected a list of compelling reasons that show why you should have an EQ pedal at all times.


If you use multiple instruments during a show, or even during a recording session, having an MXR Six Band EQ or MXR Ten Band EQ can save you a lot of time you’d otherwise spend reconfiguring your settings every time you make the swap.

Let’s say you’re switching from an active bass to a passive bass. Or from a guitar with single-pickups to a guitar with humbuckers. Or even from an electric guitar to an acoustic one. That’s going to change up the overall sound of your signal chain.

But with an EQ pedal, you can adjust the frequencies—and input and output with the MXR Ten Band EQ—as needed to keep a consistent sound. Just set the sliders where you need them to make the second instrument match, and then kick the pedal on when it’s time to make the switch.

The tremolo effect is a rock ’n’ roll staple. Varying the volume of a signal up and down at regular intervals, it has been used by many crafty songwriters to add texture and motion to their pieces, creating countless hits that feature the effect as a signature, defining element.

The MXR Tremolo welcomes the beloved effect back into its ranks, and it comes equipped with six different waveforms and a bevy of features for advanced players, from stereo operation to tap tempo and expression pedal functionality to attack-sensitive envelope tremolo. It all comes in a single MXR housing.

Check out the MXR Tremolo in action below. 


The MXR Tremolo’s six waveforms represent the most popular methods used over the years to produce the tremolo effect—and then some.


The MXR Tremolo’s first setting is an exact recreation of the M159 MXR Stereo Tremolo. Originally designed to emulate the tremolo of vintage amplifiers, the rich tone and organic pulse of that pedal became a sought-after sound in its own right.

If you dig tremolo with a healthy side of distortion, then you’ll be well-served by the MXR setting. In this clip, we’ve paired it with the very versatile, highly responsive MXR Super Badass™ Distortion—listen to how those vibrant pulses respond to high-gain, rock-ready harmonic content.

Gain pedals such as overdrive, distortion, and fuzz are staples of the modern player’s pedalboard. The range of tones and textures that they produce can be heard in just about every form of music, and they each have their own way of saturating your tone with rich harmonic content at varying degrees off combustibility. But what happens when you stack—or combine—them together? With the right pedals and settings, you can create a whole ’nother spectrum of shades and overtones that’s greater than the sum of its parts. This article will explore some of the ways that you can do just that, complete with examples to feast your ears on.

First, Some Tips

Gain is an unruly beast that’s always looking to break free. With multiple sources in your signal chain, you’ll need to be more attentive to various other elements wrangle the best sounds possible from your setup. A clean amp will make your job easier, for example, so that you can control all of the gain at the pedal level. And some pedals are just sound better together than others—if you find yourself spending hours trying to make two specific pedals play nice with each other, it might be time to swap one of them out and try a different combination. When you do find pedals that sound great together, remember that the last pedal in the gain stack is going to have the biggest impact on your tone and volume level.

The Bass Freq’s Podcast, hosted by experienced recording and touring bass player Josh Paul (Suicidal Tendencies, Infectious Grooves, Daughtry), features in-depth discussions with some of the top bassists working today. 

As the co-founding bass player and primary songwriter of Motley Crue, Nikki Sixx was the foundation of one of the most iconic rock bands to come out of the 1980s. Recently, he sat down to talk with Bass Freq’s host Josh Paul, and we’re super excited to share that conversation with you here. Nikki took Josh on a journey through his whole story, from his start in Idaho to the barroom floors, stages, and backseats of cop cars in Los Angeles, to his unique approach to bass playing and songwriting, how he’s managed to survive in the industry, and a whole lot of gear talk among other fascinating topics.

The Bass Freq’s Podcast is available wherever you listen to podcasts—subscribe so that you can hear all of our episodes featuring intriguing and inspiring guests.